Anglers off the hook

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We can stay: Westernport Angling Club members relax after hearing their clubhouse can stay put. Picture: Yanni

WESTERNPORT Angling Club members are relieved their long-established clubhouse will be allowed to remain in Marine Parade, Hastings, next to the boat ramp.

This follows the passing of an amendment at last week’s Mornington Peninsula Shire Council meeting which changed the draft Hastings Foreshore Precinct Plan against the recommendations of planning staff.

The 70-member club’s building was under threat to make way for a redesigned car park. Any forced relocation would have been particularly irksome because the clubhouse was built with money raised by club members.

Shire planning staff had recommended the re-siting in line with the Victorian Coastal Strategy which states that “existing buildings and infrastructure that do not need to be located on the coast are, to the extent practical, relocated away from coastal Crown land when suitable opportunities arise”.

Club members had previously presented a 750-signature petition objecting to the adoption of all aspects of the plan, while slamming its proposed parking provisions as “crazy”.

Angling club official Don Newman said the draft plan would have led to fewer trailer parking spaces in the overflow area, several intersections which would “create conflict”, “crazy” routing of the roadway from most parking bays to the ramp when retrieving boats, drivers negotiating up to one-and-a-half circuits around the outside of the parking area via several “Give Way” intersections, acute turns into the parking bay rows “made more difficult when towing a trailer”, and two parallel “waiting to launch/retrieve lanes” tipped to cause “ramp rage” on busy days – all without reducing waiting times.

Mr Newman said a proposed parking lane at the fish cleaning table would only accommodate two trailer rigs, instead of seven as now, while a pedestrian walkway on the southern boundary of the yacht club would “encourage inexperienced people into the dangerous boat ramp area”.

The packed gallery applauded the success of the amendment moved by Cr David Gill.

“The draft Hastings Foreshore Precinct Plan was accepted with the exception of moving the angling club and toilet block which will remain where they are,” he said later.

“Generally, the draft precinct plan is fine and we want to keep going with the redesign of the boat ramp and with a grant application to the state government.

“However, we will have to keep working on a redesign of the car park because it was predicated on the angling club and toilet block not being there.”

Mr Newman said club members were annoyed the revamped precinct plan was only posted on the shire’s website just six days before it was voted on at the Tuesday 26 June meeting.

He said the club had submitted an alternative parking plan to the shire in April, which retained the public toilet and club building, “without [receiving] any feedback”.

The club would now work with shire planners to find a “workable solution” for the boat ramp and trailer parking design, he said.

Shire planner Jeska Dee stated in the council agenda that the foreshore precinct plan was “in line with the Hastings south foreshore coastal management plan and state government policies and strategies”.

She said the plan had attracted 150 submissions during the public exhibition period. A drop-in session on 21 September was attended by community members and the draft plan was developed with “extensive community consultation and input”.

“Where appropriate, feedback received … has been incorporated into the plan … which would improve the amenity and sustainability of the Hastings foreshore reserve.”

First published in the Western Port News – 3 July 2018

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